Every now and then, scientists stumble upon findings that show we still haven’t fully discovered the planet we are calling home for millions of years. In fact, the more new findings the more we reach the conclusion that we actually don’t know as much as we’d like to think about our home. According to a recent finding, scientists have discovered the world’s smallest frog in New Guinea.
It seems that although most of the planet is now urbanized and people have managed to take a peek in some of the most remote areas, there are still some surprises that haven’t met our eyes. Scientists Eric Rittmeyer and Christopher Austin from Louisiana University discovered in the southwestern Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea a new species of a frog that is so small it “could sit within the confines of your fingernail”, as CNN writes.
The new species is scientifically named Paedophyrne amauensis and it averages about 7.7 millimeters long. It is also related with the Paedophryne dekot and Paedophryne verrucosa species which in last December have been identified, for a short while, to be the smallest frogs in the world. They averaged 8.1 to 9.3 millimeters.
So, what’s so special about this little frog? Well, the actual breakthrough comes from stating that the Paedophyrne amanuensis is not only the world’s smallest frog but also the smallest back-boned animal in the world.
Scientists point out that although the extremely tiny frogs have evolved at least eleven times, the Paedophyrne species remains unique. The group was discovered for the first time in 2002, and scientists only know six species and, so far, all of them live in Papua New Guinea.
At only 7.7 millimeters long, the Paedophyrne amauensis is difficult to see, but you can easily hear it. Scientists say that these frogs have high – pitched calls that make them sound like crickets.
Christopher Austin, scientist involved in the finding, said: “After several failed attempts to find it, we ended up just scooping up a big handful of leaf litter where the call was coming from and putting it all in a clear plastic bag”. After sorting through the bag leaf by leaf, they “discovered the incredibly small frog making the call”.